Association friends: While we usually talk about associations’ operations in this blog, today we’re focusing a little bit on chambers of commerce. But, given that you are both membership-based organizations, a lot of this still applies to you and maybe it can give you some ideas to bring into your industry and organization!
Ok, so managing a chamber of commerce will never be easy. With hundreds to thousands of members (and their benefits) to keep track of, on top of any other entities you manage, events to plan, finances to keep accurate, not to mention your advocacy and community building efforts...so much to do, so little time.
That’s where having the right membership management system comes into play. There will always be a lot on your plate, but these platforms are built specifically to:
- give you some of that time back
- give you more resources to accomplish your goals
- give you the tools that will in turn help you provide more value to your members
Sounds like a dream, right? Well it can be a reality with the right solution! Each membership management system is a little different, but generally speaking these are some of the features you can expect to see:
This is the very heart of your system. The membership database houses information about each member organization, each individual employee of the organization, and even prospective members and their employees. Updates you make in other system features are automatically saved to their profiles - and vice versa. Your members’ employees can even make profile changes themselves through member-self service, allowing you to provide them with the information they care most about.
If your community enjoys receiving a printed membership directory by all means, continue to distribute it! But consider how having an online member directory can also 1) add value to chamber membership by increasing the referrals to your member organizations, 2) create more non-dues revenue opportunities for you, and 3) give your chamber and its website more authority in the community at large.
Chamber events, big and small, are much easier to manage in these platforms. Many membership management systems include event features that effortlessly link registration and payment information to member profiles, automatically email receipts and registration confirmations, easily apply promo codes for incentive promotions...and SO much more.
Committee & entity management
Managing your membership alone has its challenges, but committees and additional entities are a whole other level. Membership management systems are built to handle the administrative side of your committees and volunteer initiatives, so that you can focus on their content and productivity. And, if you have a foundation, convention & visitors bureau, or other organization that is tied to your chamber (but you need to keep the financial data separate), a robust membership management system will be able to do that for you, too.
Accounting integration & payment processing
You'll know you've found a truly robust membership management system if it can integrate with popular accounting platforms, like Quickbooks, Intacct and GP Dynamics. Accounting integration means no more importing and exporting data between systems, confidence that data will be accurate, and the ability to manage visibility across all levels and roles in your chamber - including your board of directors! Moreover, a good technology partner will be PCI-compliant - meaning they know and follow the guidelines for safely processing both dues and non-dues payments directly in your system.
Automated and online dues renewal
Eliminating barriers is key during renewal time. Members tend to forget about or misplace paper invoices - but with a membership management system, they can quickly and easily renew their dues online, and YOU can see if they’ve been getting (and reading) your reminders. Plus, with all areas of your system working together, you can easily automate the renewal process so each step fires away on its own!
VOI (and other) Reports
Speaking of renewals - imagine being able to easily quantify the value an individual member received over the last year. That kind of report alone could be enough reason for them to renew year after year, don’t you think? These systems come with this and many other built-in reports that will give you an accurate view of your organization’s overall health.
This is just a quick look at what membership management systems can do for your chamber - but there is SO much more to them. Our newest guide, Chamber of Commerce Operations Made Simple(r): A Guide to Membership Management Systems, dives deeper into each of these features and more. Ready for more time, more resources and more value for members? Then this is the guide for you!